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Wed, 07 Dec 2022
The World for People who Think

Question

Cass Sunstein, Wikileaks And The Public Right To Know

manipulation chess
© Unknown
So Julian Assange is in prison, for now. There appears to be no case against him that any authority in their right mind would waste time on, unless the goal is to simply prolong the drama, which it may well be. Wikileaks arrived on the scene at a very interesting time. In the US, unemployment at record levels (22% at least), massive numbers of foreclosures and trillions of taxpayers' money given to save the banks from their own greed. In Europe, similar 'banking crises' brought on government 'austerity' measures whereby the people would bail out the banks with the only currency really worth anything - the sweat of our brows and our standard of living. Human currency is the real 'wealth' of any nation or government on this planet.

So millions protested and called strikes in Greece, France, the UK, Ireland etc. Such demonstrations of people power are perhaps the only weapons we have left against the corrupt elite of this world. Of course, it is knowledge of the extent of the blatant lies and corruption of the elite that galvanise the people to act in this way, and therefore the right of the people to know what their government is doing is fundamental. The principle on which Wikileaks acts, therefore, is to be supported to the last. I do have a small problem with the current Wikileaks issue however and that is the massive media coverage that it is garnering. I find little in the leaks themselves to warrant such prolonged media exposure, and, from my reading of public comments on the contents of the leaks themselves, I don't see them leading to any sort of massive public demonstrations. We can only hope that they will encourage more and better leaks so that the truth will finally be known and that may lead to action in the public sector.

As a result of having copious evidence to hand regarding the reality of government conspiracies aimed at manipulating public opinion, I have to admit also to being somewhat conspiracy-minded. It's a weakness, I know. But bear with me, I have a few questions to put to you; I'll answer a few of them, but feel free to come up with your own theories of the conspiratorial ilk or not:

Manipulating public opinion - does anyone disagree that all governments engage in this to one extent or another?

If yes, why does the government wish to manipulate public opinion?

Sherlock

The Baby and the Bathwater - Wiki-Leaks and the Principle of Truth

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As our readers know, Sott.net doesn't always take the easy path, but we do try to take the right path and we don't like to get egg on our faces. If we think we are right in the face of all opposition, we'll stick to our guns. By the same token, if we discover we have made an error, we admit and correct it. We don't like to have to admit and correct errors and so, we try to avoid making them.

There's an old saying: 'Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater' and never was that saying more à propos than the current Wikileaks/Julian Assange situation. This saying is particularly relevant in respect of those who deride Wikileaks and Assange, and point out the many problems that this situation presents to the careful thinker and researcher. And here, we include ourselves at Sott.net to some extent. We have had to sit down and discuss and think about this issue long and hard and the following is the outcome of that reflection.

Whistle

Connecting the Dots: People Power vs Weapons of Mass Distraction

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© Reuters
People power!
Much has happened since Connecting the Dots was last published; and yet, nothing much has changed at all! SOTT's volunteer staff have lately been absorbed in getting The Dot Connector Magazine off the ground. So if you haven't done so already, remember that you can always stay informed of our efforts to Connect the Dots by subscribing to our illustrated bi-monthly publication dedicated to delivering the impartial facts on issues of vital importance to every person on the planet.

With so much happening all at once, it is difficult to see which event or trend presents the most danger for humanity. Is it the descent into fascism that the United States is undergoing? Is it the obnoxious Big Brother harassment of full-body scanner machines and the humiliating "enhanced pat-downs"? The construction of terror scares by the FBI and assorted alphabet agencies, perhaps? What about Israel's oppression of Palestine, together with its manipulation of global perception and its unparalleled contribution to the distortion of geopolitics? The ongoing destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? The squeezing of Western economies to bring them into line with Third World countries and the rising food prices? Winter coming so soon to the northern hemisphere and the biblical floods caused by torrential rain?

Join us as we try to filter out the distractions and the background noise by Connecting the Dots between the trends.

Bizarro Earth

SOTT.net Exclusive: Paul Craig Roberts: 'Western Civilization Has Shed Its Values'

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© Susan Walsh / AP Photo
She won't be welcome around here any more
"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State."

-- Dr. Joseph Goebbels
Western Civilization no longer upholds the values it proclaims, so what is the basis for its claim to virtue?

For example, the US print and TV media and the US government have made it completely clear that they have no regard for the First Amendment. Consider CNN's Wolf Blitzer's reaction to the leaked diplomatic cables that reveal how the US government uses deceptions, bribes, and threats to control other governments and to deceive the American and other publics. Blitzer is outraged that information revealing the US government's improprieties reached the people, or some of them. As Alexander Cockburn wrote, Blitzer demanded that the US government take the necessary steps to make certain that journalists and the American people never again find out what their government is up to.

The disregard for the First Amendment is well established in the US media, which functions as a propaganda ministry for the government. Remember the NSA leak given to the New York Times that the George W. Bush regime was violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and spying on Americans without obtaining warrants from the FISA court? The New York Times spiked the story for one year and did not release it until after Bush's reelection. By then, the Bush regime had fabricated a legal doctrine that "authorized" Bush to violate US law.

Glenn Greenwald writing in Salon has exposed the absence of moral standards among WikiLeaks' critics. A number of American politicians have called for the US government to murder Julian Assange, as have journalists such as neoconservative propagandist Jonah Goldberg, who wrote: "Why wasn't Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?"

Newspaper

The SOTT Report: Interview with Paul Craig Roberts

In this two-part SOTT Report special, Paul Craig Roberts talks about why government officials can no longer tell the truth, U.S. financial hegemony, evidence that the terrorist threat doesn't exist, and more.

Part 1:


Question

Wiki-Leaks and Plausible Lies - Where Have All The Critical Thinkers Gone?

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While the revelations in the Wiki-leaks documents about the true nature of the US government and its imperial attitude towards other nations are welcome, I find myself in the strange position of having to agree with Hillary Clinton, David Cameron et al that the leaks won't affect anyone's relations with anyone.

Our leaders are an inherently hypocritical bunch and over the past 10 years, even the most uninformed have come to understand that our leaders have a definite tendency to say one thing and do another. Who doubts that such hardened politicians fully understand that lying to each other is par for the course in the sordid game of modern global governance? As such, why should the public be overly surprised to see confirmation of this in the Wiki-leaks documents? Entertained and even intrigued, but surprised?

I am not saying that there is no value in certain aspects of the documents themselves to the extent that they provide a chance to disseminate government corruption and mendacity to a wide audience, but titillating details such as Gadaffi's buxom 'nurse' is nothing new and, much more importantly, such details are by no means the main focus of the documents themselves.

Cow

Wiki-Leaks Serves Israeli Agenda Of Demonizing Iran

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Wikileaks…guerra mediante engaño
I obviously missed the momentous occasion when the mainstream media turned anti-war. But who can now deny that it is so when we see Wiki-leaks and the mainstream media joining forces to expose the ugly truth of the US invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, and more recently, what the US state department thinks of world leaders? I mean, that is what is happening, right?

Wrong.

What is happening is that Wiki-leaks is being promoted by the media in order to sell the same old lies, except that now the lies are coming sugar-coated, with a 'whistle-blower' gloss to better enable digestion. The lies themselves don't frustrate me so much anymore, and I can understand why the general public are fooled, but I have to admit to being disappointed at how effortlessly the Wiki-leaks poison is being swallowed by so many supposedly alternative news sites. Sites like Counterpunch, Global Research, Citizens for a Legitimate Government and Information Clearing House, to name but a few, are all disseminating the Wiki-leaks story without so much as a hint of critical thought it seems.

Top Secret

SOTT Exclusive: Who precisely is attacking the world?

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© AP

The stuck pigs are squealing. To shift the onus from the US State Department, Hillary Clinton paints Wikileaks' release of the "diplomatic cables" as an "attack on the international community". To reveal truth is equivalent, in the eyes of the US government, to an attack on the world.

It is Wikileaks' fault that all those US diplomats wrote a quarter of a million undiplomatic messages about America's allies, a.k.a., puppet states. It is also Wikileaks' fault that a member of the US government could no longer stomach the cynical ways in which the US government manipulates foreign governments to serve, not their own people, but American interests, and delivered the incriminating evidence to Wikileaks.

The US government actually thinks that it was Wikileaks' patriotic duty to return the evidence and to identify the leaker. After all, we mustn't let the rest of the world find out what we are up to. They might stop believing our lies.

The influential German magazine, Der Spiegel, writes: "It is nothing short of a political meltdown for US foreign policy."

This might be more a hope than a reality. The "Soviet threat" during the second half of the 20th century enabled US governments to create institutions that subordinated the interests of other countries to those of the US government. After decades of following US leadership, European "leaders" know no other way to act. Finding out that the boss badmouths and deceives them is unlikely to light a spirit of independence. At least not until America's economic collapse becomes more noticeable.

Vader

Paul Craig Roberts: Fabricating Terror

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© Unknown
Why does the FBI orchestrate fake terror plots?

The latest one snared Osman Mohamud, a Somali-American teenager in Portland, Oregon. The Associated Press report by William Mall and Nedra Pickler (11-27-10) is headlined in Yahoo News: "Somali-born teen plotted car-bombing in Oregon."

This is a misleading headline as the report makes it clear that it was a plot orchestrated by federal agents. Two sentences into the news report we have this: "The bomb was an elaborate fake supplied by the [FBI] agents and the public was never in danger, authorities said."

The teenager was supplied with a fake bomb and a fake detonator.

Three sentences later the reporters contradict the quoted authorities with a quote from Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon: "The threat was very real."

The reporters then contradict Balizan: "White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said Saturday that president Barack Obama was aware of the FBI operation before Friday's arrest. Shapiro said Obama was assured that the FBI was in full control of the operation and that the public was not in danger."

Then Shapiro contradicts himself by declaring: "The events of the past 24 hours underscore the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism here and abroad."

The story arrives at its Kafka highpoint when President Obama thanks the FBI for its diligence in saving us from the fake plot the FBI had fabricated.

USA

The Tortured and Manipulated 'Terrorist Threat' Evidence

Editor's note: This Sott.net editorial is being 'flash-backed' as a result of the recent Portland 'terror' scare. Details of that incident can be read on Sott.net here. This article shows in abundant detail the efforts that the US government and associated 'Intel' agencies have made over the years to manufacture 'home-grown terrorism'
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Like most normal people, by the 100th day of the Obama administration I had hoped that Bush-era freaks like Dick Cheney would have respectfully withdrawn from public view and ultimately (and ideally) ended up parked in an old people's home where staff would joyfully beat them twice a day. But alas, like a recurring nightmare, Mr. Cheney at least seems unwilling to spare us his disturbing presence just yet.

Reading his recent rants on Obama's (now reversed) plans to release more prisoner abuse photos and roll back illegal wiretapping and close Gitmo etc, we get the impression that behind Cheney's anger lies fear (I'm generously presuming that there actually is something more to old snarly face than pure primal anger). But what could provoke fear in man whose idea of private conflict resolution is to try and blow your face off with his shotgun?

While Dick is undoubtedly frustrated at the thought of an end to the vicarious pleasure he surely derives from his personal (if indirect) involvement in the water-boarding, sodomising or plain ol' beating to death of innocent people, not to mention an end to his personal assassination squad, the many degrees of separation between an order from the office of the VP and the 'enhanced interrogation' room where the 'fun' takes place ensure that Cheney need not fear any jail time for his 'enhanced misdemeanors' (especially under the increasingly pusillanimous Obama aka 'Judas Goat').